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Destructo boy turns 4

June 4, 2008

My little guy is officially 4 … and I’m in for it. This is the age at which my other three turned the tables on me. The challenges I remember of age 4 dwarf those I faced with my 2-year-olds — the “terrible twos” were terrific by comparison.
And now, Graysen has crossed over. I would think that my 14 years as a parent plus my professional experience as a nanny prior to that would prepare me for anything. But this is Graysen we’re talking about. This is the child who can shoot from one emotion to another in the blink of an eye. Alternately, he can linger at one extreme for days.
This is the boy who recently cried when told he could not ride in the dryer with the wet laundry. Who grumps at everyone when informed that it’s not his turn to drive the car. I fear he will be the child who steals the car in the middle of the night when he’s 12. Or 10.
This is the child who lately thinks most everyone is “mean.”
This is the child who currently hates his little toe because he skinned it on the front walk.
This is all hysterical in a Calvin and Hobbes sort of way later … except when I stop and realize that this child is Calvin. I expect to see disembodied screaming snowman heads in the front yard this winter.
I am generally not given to nostalgia. I adored my babies but am delighted that they’re older now and can help me, rather than just run away in parking lots. But the other day, I came across a piece I wrote three years ago after a trying day and it made me a bit nostalgic for his babyhood. Being thus moved, I credited the piece to him.

Experiment log: what I learned today
By Graysen, age 12 months, 13 days
1. If you dip your sister’s Powerpuff Girls sock in the toilet and then suck on it, Mommy will tell you that this is socially unacceptable behavior and remove you from the bathroom.
2. If you suck on a piece of dog food and then put the piece of dog food in the empty dryer, Mommy will tell you no and remove it from said appliance. If you try, however, to remove clothing from the dryer while Mommy is loading it, Mommy will again tell you no but this time insist that items remain in said appliance.
Conclusion: some wet items are acceptable for insertion into dryer, some are not. More tests are necessary to ascertain appropriateness of a range of items for drying.
3. If you yank on wire of unknown usefulness attached diagonally across inside of front screen door so that end of wire snaps away from fastener, Mommy will tell you that you are a “destructo boy” and remove sharp end of wire from your grasp.
Conclusion: research about the grammatical accuracy of “destructo” is necessary.
4. Due to diminutive size, it is acceptable to pair “cute cute little western” shirt with orange kaleidoscope diaper cover, eschewing pants. If you decide, however, to sport such attire for any length of time, you can expect the following: For Mommy to grab her “camera” and begin acting insanely happy. The focus of her happiness is you and has something to do with aforementioned ensemble. Acceptable reaction to Mommy’s insanity is to smile and look “cute cute” (as in cute cute little western shirt). Due to diminished attention span (which correlates with age—further testing on this connection is desirable), turning your butt to the camera and crawling away to seek out more stimulating experiences (like the fun game called “How Close Can You Get That Bug To Your Mouth Before Mommy Reacts!”) is acceptable (and desirable, as well).
5. If Mommy makes a barricade with the dining chairs,to keep you from eating the potting soil beneath the plant growing by the front window, you should slip beneath the rungs of said chairs to further research the necessity of the barricade. This is primarily a psychological experiment. Closely observe Mommy’s reaction when she notices you on the other side of her carefully constructed barrier. Note: her reaction will be more striking if you do the following after infiltrating the forbidden zone:
A. Quickly eat enough of the soil to develop a “beard” (refer to Daddy for details on this peculiarity). A sheen of saliva on your skin prior to application of soil is helpful in enhancing the appearance of the “beard.”
B. If you are lucky enough to locate another forbidden object on the floor near the plant, make haste in getting it to your mouth. An old dryer sheet works nicely.
C. When you are noticed, smile and giggle. This will ensure that Mommy cannot get “mad.” Second reason Mommy is unlikely to react to experiments with anger: see above description reading “age 12 months, 13 days.” Conclusion about this: Mommy is an ageist and a pushover. Further experiments are needed to test this conclusion over time. Say…the next 17 years.

Like I said, I’m in for it.

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